Thousand Islands
Region Easements

Northeast Wilderness Trust holds conservation easements on four Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) Preserves, totaling 2,054 acres in the heart of the Algonquin to Adirondack (A2A) wildlife corridor.

TILT safeguards the landscape of New York’s Thousand Islands region with conservation easements and land acquisition, focusing on important wetland, grassland, and woodland habitats. This region of New York is a vital wildlife migration corridor between the protected Adirondack Park and the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, also known as the A2A Corridor. Notably, the islands themselves are stepping stones for flora and fauna across the St. Lawrence River. TILT worked with Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Wildlands Partnership program to add forever-wild conservation easements on sections of four Preserves: Crooked Creek, South Hammond, Payne Lake, and Many Oaks.

Crooked Creek Preserve is TILT’s largest Preserve at 2,200 acres—about half of which is now forever-wild with the new easement. The forest’s canopy is made up of mature white pine, red oak, and sugar maple, with a sparse forest floor carpeted by pine needles and interspersed with outcrops of lichen-covered rock. The Macsherry Trail winds through the Preserve, bringing visitors to a scenic overlook where Crooked Creek empties into the St. Lawrence River’s Chippewa Bay, then continuing on to a beaver lodge and pond. The wetlands of Crooked Creek are one of the most significant wetland complexes along the St. Lawrence River.

To the east of Crooked Creek are three more TILT preserves with forever-wild protection: Many Oaks, Payne Lake, and South Hammond. Together with Grand Lake Reserve these lands provide the foundation of an east-west corridor of wildlands that, when fully protected and connected, will enhance the movement and dispersal of flora, fauna, and fungi between the Adirondack Park and the St. Lawrence River.

“Right in the backyard of the Thousand Islands, the A2A corridor provides the same remote and rugged aesthetic as the deep Adirondacks. The underlying geology is nearly identical to that found in the Adirondack Park or Canadian Shield of the Algonquin Provincial Park. We’re thrilled to be part of the Wildlands Partnership with NEWT.”

Kenneth Nims, Director of Stewardship for TILT

Many Oaks is a rich mosaic of hardwood forests at lower elevations, and open, rocky ridges at higher elevations. Payne Lake primarily protects a large wetland complex on the northern edge of the lake, which feeds into the Oswegatchie River. The land falls in a relatively undisturbed setting and borders Pulpit Rock State Forest. South Hammond follows suit with a lovely mix of wetlands–marsh meadows, shrubby swamps, and floodplain forests–complemented by upland forests such as a maple-basswood rich mesic forest and a white pine rocky summit.

Northeast Wilderness Trust is increasingly focused on protecting wildlands in the A2A wildlife corridor, which the Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative recognizes as “one of the most important areas for connectivity east of the Rocky Mountains.” In addition to collaborating with Thousand Islands Land Trust and Indian River Lakes Conservancy to protect more wilderness in the A2A region, NEWT protects Grasse River Wilderness Preserve and Bear Pond Forest.

The Thousand Islands Region forever-wild conservation easements were supported with funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Photography: Aerial images by Thousand Islands Land Trust; Crooked Creek Preserve by Chris Murray Photography, Winterberry holly by Shelby Perry